Leslie S. Richards

Secretary of Transportation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)

As the first woman and planner to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Leslie S. Richards oversees one of the largest and most innovative transportation agencies in the U.S., with an annual budget of more than $10 billion and 11,500 employees. 

Richards is making her mark on the agency by ensuring the long-term success of Pennsylvania’s transportation needs through sustainable investments. These new policies include the Transportation Investment Plan, a metric driven strategic investment approach for the 12 Year Capital Program; a $2.1 billion maintenance and system preservation initiative, termed PennDOT Road MaP; and PennDOT Connects, a transformative approach that focuses on improved collaboration among local stakeholders for the planning and delivery of capital and maintenance projects. 

Richards has been recognized for her leadership in the industry and her commitment to public service. Richards was appointed the first female chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as well as the Public Private Partnership (P3) Board. Her career includes work in both the private and public sectors, including as a local government official. She served as the vice chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, where she led the transportation and planning initiatives for the third-largest county in the Commonwealth. Prior to the Commission she worked as a senior project manager for environmental and civil engineering firms. 

In addition, Richards served as the chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, as well as on the boards of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVFTMA). Before being elected commissioner, she served as the chair and vice chair of the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors.

Richards is a graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in economics and urban studies. She received a master's of regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Richards is a lifelong Pennsylvania resident. She lives with her husband and three children in Montgomery County.

Dr. T. Pete Ruane

President and CEO of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

Dr. T. Pete Ruane is the president and CEO of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), a 115-year old national federation of public and private transportation construction interests with 7,000 members headquartered in Washington, D.C. He has over 40 years of diversified experience in the economic development, transportation, construction and national defense fields.Prior to joining ARTBA in October 1988, he served for nine years as President/CEO of the National Moving and Storage Association (NMSA) an international trade association with members in over 50 countries and its affiliate organizations. 

Ruane served as the deputy director of the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), Office of the Secretary of Defense and the President's Economic Adjustment Committee where he worked on complex economic development projects stemming from military base closures or growth impacts in more than 30 states from 1970 to 1980. He received numerous awards as a member of the Senior Executive Service, including the top two government-wide management awards available to a young federal executive (Arthur Fleming and William A. Jump Foundation), and the Secretary of Defense’s Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.

Ruane is a graduate of Loyola University of Baltimore, and holds a master's degree from Penn State and a doctorate from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He also holds the professional designation Certified Association Executive (CAE).

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, having served as an officer with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Ruane is a past chairman and current Director of the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC), a permanent coalition of over 50 trade organizations representing the entire spectrum of U.S. business.  He has held numerous volunteer and elective positions including six years as a Director of the school board at St. Mary's of Annapolis, four of which he served as President.  From 2004-2009, Ruane served as the first lay Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Calvert Hall College High School (Baltimore) and was a board member of the school for eleven years and was voted into the schools Hall of Fame in 2015. In October 2009, he became Chair of the Loyola College Board of Advisors within Loyola University Maryland. He also currently serves as a Director of the International Road Federation, a trustee of the Transportation Development Foundation and is the Vice Chairman of the U.S. Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM), a broad-based coalition focused on major national transportation legislation. He also co-chairs the Transportation Construction Coalition, a permanent 30-member market-oriented construction trade association and labor coalition working on industry legislative and regulatory issues. He is a frequent witness before Congress and guest on national news programs.

He is the first association executive to have been awarded the American Public Works Association Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and was voted one of Engineering News-Record magazine’s top newsmakers from throughout the world in 1998.  Both of these awards were for his unique personal leadership in the passage of TEA-21, then the largest public works legislation in the history of the United States. In 2004 he was designated one of the Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Construction Professionals of the 20th Century and was named one of Public Works magazine’s 2005 “Trendsetters” for his leadership in helping to pass SAFETEA-LU. Leading Capital Hill publications regularly cite Ruane’s leadership role in national transportation policy.

Ruane was a member of the graduate school faculty at George Washington University for four years, and has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities including Oklahoma, Iowa, American and the National Defense University.  He is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the U.S. Marine Corps. Heritage Foundation.

He and his wife Pat reside in Annapolis, Maryland and have four grown children (Jeanne, Tom, Katie and Colleen) and nine grandchildren.

headshot of Leslie Richards

Leslie S. Richards, PennDOT Secretary of Transportation, is scheduled to serve as Keynote Speaker, December 5, 2018, at the 24th Annual Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC).

Headshot of Peter Ruane

Pete Ruane, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), is scheduled to present The Larson Lecture, December 6, 2018, at the 24th Annual Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC).



Since 1995, the Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC) has been attracting professionals from throughout Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic region, and the country. It continues to be an authoritative source of information on pressing issues from some of the foremost experts in transportation today.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-1891